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Rs. 25,000-crore World Bank loan likely for cities

Special Correspondent

The sum is meant for urban development schemes in the country


Modalities expected to be finalised by

February 10 next

World Bank team coming to India tomorrow

to develop a concept note


BANGALORE: There is a likelihood of the country getting a World Bank loan of $5 billion (about Rs. 25,000 crore) for urban development. Talks in this regard have commenced between the Union Ministry of Urban Development and the World Bank.

Secretary, Urban Development, M. Ramachandran told presspersons on the sidelines of a workshop on “Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority,” organised by the Institute of Urban Transport with support from the World Bank here on Wednesday, that a team of World Bank officials would come to India on Friday to develop a concept note in this regard.

Modalities

He said the modalities for the loan assistance were expected to be finalised by February 10, 2010 well before the presentation of the country’s budget for the next financial year.

The Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance would be involved in the process of finalisation of the modalities for the loan assistance.

The proposal for the loan was made by the World Bank’s country director rather than the Urban Development Ministry asking for it. Secondly, the process of finalising the modalities by the World Bank was being cut short for the first time, he noted.

New arrangement

He said the Urban Development Ministry wanted to seek the assistance through the channel of the ongoing JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) as a different and new arrangement would lead to delay due to the long process of negotiations.

Of the total assistance, about $ 3.5 billion (Rs. 17,500 crore) would go towards urban development programmes while $ 1.5 billion (Rs. 7,500 crore) was being planned to be used towards urban transport.

He hinted that the programmes proposed by the States would get 50 per cent of the grants from the World Bank loan while the remaining 50 per cent had to be met by the Centre and the States.

He said the Centre wanted to introduce a spirit of competition among States for getting the funds under the above schemes. The States would get assistance depending upon their previous performance such as implementation of the previous programmes and the nature of programmes proposed by them.

Karnataka Additional Chief Secretary Vatsala Watsa, Principal Secretary, Infrastructure Development, V. Madhu and World Bank representative Ajai Kumar spoke.

Public transport

Expressing concern over the fact that a sizeable number of people still used personal transport, which added to the traffic woes, Dr. Ramachandran called upon people to shed their status-consciousness and use public transport.

He pointed out that senior judges in the United Kingdom travelled in tube railway like commoners instead of using government cars.

He particularly asked those travelling alone in cars to use public transport.

Dr. Ramachandran stressed the need for adopting an integrated approach towards various modes of urban transport to find a solution to the urban mobility issues.

Transport policy

He said the National Urban Transport Policy-2006 brought about by the Centre had recommended the setting up of a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority for every city to bring about such a coordination among different modes of urban transport.

Karnataka was the first to set up such an authority, Karnataka Metropolitan Land Transport Authority, and a few others had followed suit.

Dr. Ramachandran hailed Bangalore city’s transport initiatives, particularly the efforts to make some of those using personal transport to switch over to public transport.

However, he suggested to the State to ensure that the BMLTA did not become another typical government body. It should have transport, traffic and urban development experts, Dr. Ramachandran added.

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